Part of the Byron Bay Arts and Industry Estate had to be evacuated on Friday afternoon after a fire that started in a book-binding factory sent out billowing clouds of toxic black smoke.
A number of Rural Fire Service trucks and two hazmat units arrived at the Centennial Circuit warehouse soon after midday but the fire was already well alight. The area around the fire was cordoned off and around 400 people were evacuated.
An Echo staff member received a call early Friday afternoon requesting that she collect her child from a daycare centre in the vicinity on the advice of hazmat officers.
Echonetdaily photographer Jeff Dawson, who was on the scene, described the smoke as ‘acrid and toxic’.
The fire was pronounced extinguished around 4pm, having largely gutted the building, but it reignited at about 6am on Saturday and took another hour to be put out completely.
Superintendent Chris Jurgeit told ABC the fire was contained to the one building but ‘due to structural issues fire fighters couldn’t get inside the building and had to work from the outside’.